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Poem: The Glen Plaid Suit


The Suit of My Family Legacy

When my mother passed away recently, I went through her closet. And there it was: my glen plaid suit. It was the suit I wore only once to my bar mitzvah, but it was the suit that my mother valued as one of our family artifacts. It was also the suit that I dreaded to wear, even if it was for only one day. But when you're barely 13, one day seemed like a lifetime. I since donated the suit to Goodwill hoping that it would become a legacy for some other family. I often think of what that suit meant to me and how it touched my family. I'm sure when my parents remember me in the afterlife, I'll be wearing that suit, baggy and all.

Poem: The Glen Plaid Suit

When I was thirteen,
I bought a suit
that promised
magical powers.

It would help transform
me into a man,
no longer a boychik
with knobby knees,
my father said.

My father took me
to see the Wizard of Suits
on South Street,
a store of many colors
and fabrics.

The Wizard spoke softly
in a South Philly accent,
“I’ll scratch your back
if you scratch mine.”

My father agreed
and the Wizard spun
a powerful, noble suit
into a double-breasted
glen plaid.

In return my father
gave the Wizard
a satchel of silver
and one of my
least favorite siblings.

The Wizard promised
that if I wear the suit,
I could possess the world
in my hands.

In my heart,
I didn’t believe him.
I’d much rather have
a three-quarter length jacket
in soft black leather.

When the special day arrived,
I wore my magical suit.
It felt heavy and hung loosely
off my feeble body.

The sleeves were too long,
the pants were baggy.
The necktie kept cutting off
my oxygen supply.

I yearned to be in cut-off jeans,
a loose-fitting tee-shirt,
sneakers or a pair of sandals
instead of cordovan wingtips.

I wished I had a Louisville Slugger
instead of a holy book in my hands.
I wished I wore a baseball hat
instead of a skull cap on my head.

But I read the few lines of Hebrew,
did what the rabbi said,
and collected my mitzvah gelt
in sealed envelopes
from all my smiling relatives.

It was the only time,
I wore that magical suit,
a cumbersome suit of armor.
It still hangs on a wire hanger
in my mother’s dusty closet.

Video Poem by Mark Tulin: The Glen Plaid Suit


Mark Tulin (author) from Palm Springs, California on September 05, 2020:

Yes, very uncomfortable. To this day, I refuse to wear a suit.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on September 05, 2020:


I can picture you wearing this suit as uncomfortable as you seem.

Some things remain in the closet forever because they have a symbol of meaning to us.

At least in today's world many youth do not have to forgo this experience since the times have changed.

Nice write.

Mark Tulin (author) from Palm Springs, California on July 28, 2018:

Thank you, Shyron. I will.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on July 28, 2018:

Mark, you have my sympathy for the passing of your mom.

I can see uncomfortable you

In you over size magical Glen Plaid suit

With your wingtip shoes you wanted to fly

Away from there where things fit just right

Not to lose and not to tight

But, treasure those memories of just one night.

Mark Tulin (author) from Palm Springs, California on June 07, 2018:

thank you, manatita.

manatita44 from london on June 06, 2018:

Nice suit; cute memories.

At least you wrote a poem about it. You read well. Cool!

Mark Tulin (author) from Palm Springs, California on June 05, 2018:

Thank you, Tim. You’re dead on about growing into our suits as we grow older. I’m certainly getting comfortable in mine. Thank your for the comment as always.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on June 05, 2018:

Wonderful, Mark.

I read your poem twice and listened to the reading.

Memorable. I thought about the first time I wore a suit I wished I would never see again, and smiled.

You captured the feelings of youth and I could see myself smiling with your family, while you would secretly rather be swinging a baseball bat.

I have some very good Jewish friends and I will encourage them to read your poem.

Thinks for the memories, and may you have peace.

Our suits (skin, emotions, mental abilities, etc.) eventually grow to fit us from youth to adulthood. Your parents dressed you well.



Mark Tulin (author) from Palm Springs, California on June 05, 2018:

I am definitely aware of its importance more now than when I was a kid, Hari. Thanks for the read.

Hari Prasad S from Bangalore on June 05, 2018:

Cool poetry and recitation too. Mark it's a traditional wear i suppose, so it must be important that you wrote a poetry.

- hari

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